Everyone loves to browse online stores. Think of how many stores you’ve been on yourself, browsed their catalog, and left the site. It may be because you’re looking for a gift and you want to explore your options, or maybe you’re in need of a new set of headphones and want to browse around to find the best deal. Whatever the case may be, browse abandonment is a big issue for ecommerce merchants.
Some research indicates that of 100 visitors to your site, 39 will look at your products and only 4 will make a purchase. Moreover, other research shows that the average add-to-cart rate is about 5.3% with only the top 20% of stores seeing more than 8%. That leaves you with a huge number of potential customers who may not add something to their cart, but are still interested in your products. That’s where browse abandonment emails come in useful for merchants.
Why browse abandonment is important
When brands build out their email automations, some of the first will usually be welcome emails, and cart abandonment. Browse abandonment often comes next, and targets a very different type of customers than cart abandonment. While cart abandonment emails target those customers who have added products to their cart and failed to complete checkout, browse abandonment only requires them to look at a product page and leave the site. The reason for implementing both into your remarketing strategy is to target different stages of the customer lifecycle and customer intent.
The intent behind a customer browsing a product page and leaving is very different from them adding something to their cart. When they only browse your store then leave the site, their purchasing intent isn’t very strong. However their interest may indicate that they have higher research intent - especially if they browse a few different products more than once. They may not be quite ready to make a purchase, but they are at least interested. Given the high number of people who simply browse your store compared to those who add items to their cart, it makes sense that you want to find ways to target those people and convince them to return to your store to purchase.
These emails then serve a very specific and important purpose; to remind customers of your brand and put it at the forefront of their minds, and bring them back to your store. However, you don’t have their reasoning for why they decided to leave your site or if they had any real intent of eventually making a purchase. Therefore it’s even more important to have a robust browse abandonment strategy in place.
Ways to improve your strategy
#1 - Add SMS to your browse abandonment flow
Make the most of your owned marketing and add SMS into your browse abandonment flow. SMS messages are opened faster than email, and typically see higher engagement rates too as people check their phone’s notifications more frequently than their inbox.
Have your browse abandonment SMS work alongside your email messaging, to ensure there’s a consistent stream of messages that doesn’t feel like you’re bombarding the customer with marketing messages. For example send an email a few hours post-abandonment, with a different follow up text depending on how the customer engages with the email.
#2 - Use your store data to personalize product recommendations
Your store data is your most valuable and powerful tool when it comes to remarketing. You can use your store data in a couple of different ways in your browse abandonment strategy.
The first is by using data to target repeat customers who find themselves in your browse abandonment flow. Show them the items they were browsing, then show them complementary products based on products they bought previously. This demonstrates to them that you’re taking their individual purchasing habits and preferences into consideration.
Another way to use your store data is by showing new potential customers products that other people have purchased related to the item they were browsing. It shows what others with similar taste were interested in, and it may pique their interest if they see other products they may have missed while they were browsing earlier.
You could take this personalization even deeper by incorporating different segments into your browse abandonment flow and changing up the messaging and recommendations. For example one-time customers as well repeat and even long-time loyal customers.
#3 - Highlight the other benefits of shopping with your store
If a customer is browsing your store but not adding items to their cart, there’s a good chance they’re still researching brands they may want to shop with. When a customer is in that research phase of the lifecycle, you have a bit more work to do to convince them of your store above others. Use your browse abandonment emails to highlight other benefits of your store:
- Free or fast shipping
- Loyalty program perks
- Easy returns process
- Advice from experts on your team
Especially if that customer is new to your brand and hasn’t yet made their first purchase, knowing all this information may be crucial to their decision to keep your business in mind for when they’re ready to make a purchase.
#4 - Keep messaging short and sweet
When someone is simply browsing your store and isn’t ready to make a purchase, they’re not going to pay as much attention to long-winded or detailed marketing messages in the same way someone with higher purchase intent might. Therefore it’s important to keep your browse abandonment emails short and to the point. Show them the products they were interested in along with a link back to the product and any other additional features such as product recommendations or reviews. You want to maximize the opportunity you have to reignite their interest in your brand and products, so keeping things succinct is best to do just that.
#5 - Utilize a clear CTA that makes the experience seamless
Make use of a bold, clear Call-to-Action that people can click and it will instantly bring them back to the product they were interested in. This makes the experience easy for them, reducing the number of steps they need to take to get back to the product. Their purchase intent is much lower than someone who has added products to their cart, so there’s a higher risk of them losing interest fast. By making it easy for them to get back to the product page, you’re making the most of that moment of their attention and putting them right back where they left off so the experience is smooth and seamless for them.
#6 - Showcase your social proof
According to Spiegel, as many as 95% of consumers read reviews before making a purchase. Social proof is a huge asset that your brand has to convince new customers to take the plunge and make a purchase. Use this as part of your browse abandonment strategy to highlight both the customer experience of shopping with your store, and the products that the customer was looking at. This adds to their confidence in returning to potentially make a purchase, as they can read the real experiences of people who have previously made the purchase they were considering.
#7 - Be smart with your incentives
There’s always the temptation to bring customers back by using an incentive. After all, what better way to catch their attention than a discount code? However we would recommend that merchants take their time when it comes to incentives, and only make use of these when there’s a high indication of purchase intent. For example, if a new potential customer browses several times and has engaged with your previous emails and SMS messaging, then you may consider offering an incentive because it’s clear their interest wasn’t fleeting and an incentive may give them that extra push they need to checkout. Additionally, you may want to consider offering an incentive earlier to a loyal customer to show appreciation for their continued support knowing that there’s a high chance that the incentive will result in another purchase.
#8 - Use eye-catching subject lines
Everyone’s inboxes are cluttered with a whole range of different marketing emails and messages. In order to stand out from the crowd, you need to make use of eye-catching subject lines that immediately grab the customer’s attention. “Caught you looking!”, “Want to take another look?”, “We’ve picked these just for you”, and “Did something catch your eye?” are all great examples of a short, snappy, and attention grabbing subject line. If you’re offering an incentive, you should also include that in the subject line to really catch their eye.
Browsing online stores is something everyone does. It’s low effort, and low risk, as you’re not committing to a purchase; you’re simply having a look at what’s on offer. However by making the most of that interest a store visitor has in your products through a browse abandonment strategy you can turn those casual browsers into customers.